Last Saturday, at 2:45am I received a phone call. I could tell by the sender that it brought the inevitable news that my father had passed. My dad had been under hospice care for approximately three weeks, and although the circumstances of their passings differed, it struck me that both he and Rich had lingered for just about the same time; seemingly okay one day then declining in a short period of time.
My father had been struggling and could no longer communicate and when he was made more comfortable, and drifted to what I hoped was a better place in his mind, I invoked the spirits of my late husband, Rich, my sister, Manette, her son, Zac and brother Matt, to help my father pass peacefully.
Later that evening, the light in my kitchen that I believe Rich uses to communicate with me began to flicker. I took it as a confirmation that my message had been heard. Hours later, I got the call. I know some may scoff at that story, but it brings me, and those who know me well, a measure of comfort that our loved ones are always with us and always wanting the best for us.
Just days before, when he could still communicate, he’d become excited and kept telling me to look over my shoulder while pointing deliberately at something. No one was in the room, but when I asked him who’d he’d seen, he replied, “All your friends.”
A week before he passed, my father received a beautiful Pinning Ceremony for his service in the US Navy and Coast Guard. He loved being outdoors and we are grateful to the staff at Lakes Crossing Senior Care and his Hospice team for arranging that and helping Jack enjoy being outside one last time for this honor.
My family and I thank all of you who’ve been part of his life and for your continued support during the past few weeks, and years, as we carve out a new “normal” at every bend in the road it seems. It brings comfort to know that we have so many friends, both here and in the world beyond.
The following is the content of his obituary:
“Mr. John (Jack) R. Begin, age 95 passed away on the morning of Saturday, April 29th, 2023, in Kingsland, GA. Jack was born on July 22, 1927 in Danvers, MA, to the late Theresa and Jacob Begin. A WWII veteran, he proudly served in the United States Navy and Coast Guard. An undergraduate of Springfield College (MA), he later achieved two Master Degrees in Education from Columbia University in New York City and later attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, on an educational sabbatical. Jack enjoyed long-time employment as a Physical Eduction instructor and athletic coach and later as an Earth Science teacher. He was inducted in the Bergen County (NJ) Coaching Hall of Fame and pioneered the first Wrestling Program for River Dell Sr. High School (NJ) and also worked as a referee for football, soccer and wrestling. He enjoyed sharing that he once coached football coaching legend Bill Parcels and encouraged a young Bob Gaudio to pursue his musical aspirations who would become a member of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Jack loved to sing himself, often entertaining others with his renditions of I Had a Hat When I Came In and You are My Sunshine and a constant stream of witticisms and puns. He was a certified Master Gardener, and enjoyed woodcrafting in his backyard studio of his home in Hackensack, NJ. At the end of each school year, the family home would fill with “Foster” plants needing vacation care and a multitude of domesticated and wild pets in need of healing or a new home. Decades of summers also found him managing several private Bergen County Swim Clubs.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Mary (Cindy) Begin, his daughter Lisa Kruysman (Richard, dec.) of St. Marys, GA, son John Begin (Gigi) of Cambridge, NY, his daughter the late Manette Begin-Loudon, his son, the late Matthew Begin, sister Marcie Dzierzanowski of Tarpon Springs, FL, beloved grandchildren, Jacob Begin (Jessica), Roxanne Begin, Olivia Begin, Gabriel Begin and the late Zachary Loudon, a great grand daughter, Spider Fontayne and a myriad of loving nieces and nephews, friends, and colleagues and his grand dog, Quint. A private Military Service and internment will be held in the future. To honor his memory, please consider making a donation to the charity of your choice.Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland, GA is entrusted with Mr. Begin’s arrangements.”